Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Not Only The Rich . . .

The beautiful people are different from you and me. (Maybe they differ from only me; some of you might be pretty people.)

For a quick review, let's look at the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald description in context:
"Let me tell you about the very rich.  They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves.  Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."
A new study finds that pretty folk seem to have similar ideas to the rich Fitzgerald describes:
Participants who perceive themselves as attractive also tend to not only believe they are of higher social status but also to believe in group dominance — that some groups are just inferior. They also were more likely to believe in ideas that legitimized their status, like the idea that all Americans have equal shots at making it to the top.
It's worth noting that the report uses the term "perceive themselves as attractive." That phrasing leaves open the possibility that it's not the pretty people who think they deserve to rule society but people who are willing to lie to themselves about their attractiveness. (Choosing the whether vanity or dishonesty is a lesser evil requires a different post.)

The actual pretty people or the people who believe themselves beautiful are quite comfortable with inequality.
. . . .In other words, thinking you've got it going on — as opposed to feeling influential, all-around pretty great, or respected — can really shift how you look at inequality.
People who thought they were more attractive also tended to think that America's steadily growing inequality came about because of individual characteristics, like talent and hard work. People who thought they were uglier, meanwhile, thought outside factors — discrimination, political power — had more to do with inequality. . . .
. . . .People who perceived themselves as more attractive were more likely to agree with statements like, "It is not a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others."
The rich, the beautiful, and those who believe themselves beautiful view themselves to be  of higher social status and, therefore,  deserve to lord it over the rest of us. After all, many of them believe they got what they have through hard work while the rest of us deserve to be lower on the scale. For them, it must always be summertime.

1 comment:

Deb Geelsdottir said...

Well that's just bizarre. And probably true. Sad for all of us.